Another Cup Chance For Merv Corliss
Tamworth's veteran trainer Merv Corliss is set to play another lead role in the Grafton Cup after his honest gelding Victory Charm forced his way into the field for the $160,000 feature by winning Thursday's Westlawn Finance Cup Prelude at Grafton.
Corliss, who has heading to the July Racing Carnival in Grafton since he first placed a bridle on a thoroughbred, won the 1997 Grafton Cup with iron horse Akwazoff.
Akwazof also twice finished third in the Grafton Cup in 1996 and 2000.
Corliss, 81, ensured his impact on the Grafton Cup’s rich history would continue when five-year-old gelding Victory Charm scored a dramatic last-stride win in the Grafton Cup Prelude (2200m).
Victory Charm, ridden by Scott Thurlow, gunned down last year’s Cup Prelude winner Extra Dollars (Adam Nicholls) in the shadows of the post.
The judge needed two prints to separate the pair, with a nose the official winning margin.
Corliss said Victory Charm will now take his place in next Thursday’s $160,000 XXXX Gold Grafton Cup (2400m).
"You always dream of having a Grafton Cup runner. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years and it isn’t over yet," he said.
Victory Charm is raced in the same interests as Akwazoff.
The son of Victory Note out of Charm And Chase was bred by Neil Latimer and his late wife Mia, who both raced Akwazoff with Corliss.
"We’ve raced a lot of horses together and had a bit of luck," Corliss said.
"Sometime back I said I was thinking of setting Victory Charm for the Grafton Cup.
"We had a little plan and so far its come off.
"He’s on the mark, I’ve just got to keep him ticking over."
Victory Charm took his record to 10 wins and 14 placings from 40 starts and has now won more than $70,000.
The favourite Meteorite disappointed, finishing ninth, and giant local horse Concitare dropped out to finish 11th, laving Grafton Cup plans for the pair in doubt.